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tv   Reliable Sources  CNN  June 10, 2012 11:00am-12:00pm EDT

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leaks to "the new york times" and critics blame the obama team for spilling some of the secrets that put the administration in a favorable light. >> a firestorm today as republicans claim the white house has been leaking national security secrets to the press, to make president obama look good. >> david sanger, the author of one of those stories, will be here. plus walter cronkite was the most trusted man in america. >> and that's the way it is, friday, march 6th, 1981. >> but sometimes he did things that were rather untrustworthy. would that have gotten him fired today? we'll ask his biographer, doug brinkley. i'm howard kurtz, and this is "reliable sources." remember when the republican primaries were going strong and we all bounced from bachmann to trump to perry to cain and the hottest story around was who
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would win iowa. >> and what an extraordinary night here in des moines. welcome to abc news's special coverage of the iowa caucuses which basically ended in a dead heat. >> iowa gop chairman matt strong making the announcement that governor mitt romney, former governor romney, won the iowa caucuses by eight votes. >> but the tone was a bit more subdued by the time mitt romney officially clinched the gop nomination. >> he goes over the top with 1,144 plus delegates he needs to get the nomination in tampa. texas did it for him. >> this is not a surprise. once everybody else was effectively out of the race, and frankly before everybody else was out of the race, you could do the math pretty easily. >> now we're in the dog days of the campaign and coincidentally or not, cable news ratings are down. fox news down nearly 250,000 viewers in primetime since january, but from a much higher base of almost two million viewers. msnbc down 130,000 in primetime and cnn has been hardest hit
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down 450,000 viewers during those primetime hours. how much of this has to do with an increasingly dull political season? joining us is christina bellantoni, paul farhi, media reporter for the "washington post" and terrance smith. terry, cable news still immersed in this presidential campaign, 34% of the time according to a recent report, but many viewers may not be. >> obsessed, i would say is the word. i'd like to put the decline in ratings down to viewers' taste and discrimination, but i doubt that's the real cause. in this case -- i mean we're in a lull in the political campaign right now, between the freak show that we had in the early primaries where you literally couldn't believe that this was the cast of characters and this was going to -- okay, that's over. you have romney, you have obama. i don't think the public will
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pay much attention again until the conventions or the debates. but the cable news channels don't seem to know that and haven't noticed. >> as you know, christina bellantoni, cable loves drama. once romney wrapped things up, we get this long drawn-out six month general election. >> there's far less tension. particularly after rick santorum said he wasn't running anymore. when you talk to voters and ask them what they want to see as far as news coverage, they frequently say they want to know the facts, they want to evaluate someone's record. at this point a lot of news organizations held off until romney was officially the nominee. so now maybe is the time to evaluate how he would actually implement these policies he says he would do in awful his television ads and increasingly more networks are showing punditry and what people think about what the people said not evaluating the president's record and mitt romney's record. >> cable also has more competition from the web, from
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twitter, from people getting information on their phones. i wonder in a broader sense whether that's affecting the numbers. >> yes. all television is declining. all ratings for most shows starting with "american idol" are in decline. the cable networks are in the middle of a trend that has been going down not just this year and not just last year, last year was flat, but since 2007, 2008 when there was a big spike with obama and clinton and the election that year. >> there were two races that year for the nomination. >> and much more exciting. but the trend since then for four years has been downward generally. >> let's go back to terry. could viewers be turned off by the way television covers politics. the flap of the day, the back and forth, the embarrassing sound bites? >> i really think they are. you know, it's repetitious, it's predictable. the opinions of those on fox and msnbc particularly are pretty
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predictable. you know what position they're going to take. and, therefore, there's not much drama in it. and i think christina has a good point. let's actually try some substance and see if people are interested in what mitt romney thinks about taxes or the economy or what obama might do in a second term, something he has not told us so far. >> and increasingly you're seeing, because of technology, people are turning to shut out those filters of whether it's a newspaper or a cable news network or any network really. they want to go to the original documents. they want to watch a speech that the candidate is giving and increasingly watching it from wall to wall, so you're seeing the campaigns were able to pick on this very quickly and take their message to the voters and bypass the press, which is something that has been a continual theme since 2008. >> we do tend to get wrapped up in bill clinton makes some remarks that are off message from the obama campaign message and he walks it back and we all get very energized by that but i think voters are more interested in what are either of these
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gentlemen going to do for the economy. you were talking about longer trends for television and increased competition. does that put cable news in an increasingly difficult position or maybe cable news audiences have peaked because most of the country has cable, which wasn't the case 15 years ago. >> most of the country had cable and at least the cable news networks four or five years ago as well. but yes, cable news networks are basically in the same position as newspapers. their revenue is still staying very high, because they get fees from cable operators, but increasingly the way people get news is digitally, online, not necessarily from television and this puts the cable networks in the position of having to say what do we do in terms of the long term. and the long term might be invest more in your digital side because your television side is perpetually going to be in decline. >> but the test is if the audience comes back in a big
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news story. the killing of osama bin laden, something like that, that is an absolutely riveting thing. and in the past every time, the audience has come back and i will say they come often to cnn first. >> but that brings up the role of cnn. it's no secret cnn's ratings have suffered the most action even though all three are down. cnn has -- i respect cnn for trying to be a straight news channel at a time when it is certainly easier or cheaper to go the partisan or opinionated route that msnbc has done following the lead of fox news. what cnn executives say this is a seasonal blip. the numbers have bounced up and down for 15 years and competitive season of the primaries, but before the general election really under way with the conventions and the fall campaign and that cnn admittedly is most tied to the news cycle. in other words, cnn does the best when there's a big breaking story either internationally or here at home. >> but the cable networks have figured out that you can't rely on the news cycle, you've got to get appointment television,
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you've got to get regular viewers and partisanship by msnbc and fox has been the strategy. cnn's strategy has been to play it down the middle more. if it changes, if it went more partisan, it would be dividing a market that is already occupied by a player as well. so it's not necessarily a good strategy to go partisan. they have got their market niche. the problem is if the news doesn't cooperate, you won't get the viewers. >> and you don't always view cnn. people don't portray it as i'm going to turn to it for politics, although it does excellent political coverage. >> it has more viewers around the world than the other two. >> and when something happens, whether it's in conflict or even a big crime or some big breaking news conference on something else, you're probably going to turn to cnn first because you're thinking more in those terms and less in the political both sides terms. >> but you know we saw it in the coverage of the wisconsin recall election earlier this past week where the two, fox and msnbc,
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gave you a lot of opinion. i would say even advocacy of their respective positions. >> it was like watching two parallel universes. ed schultz is a big union guy on msnbc. he was openly depressed. he said it's going to be a difficult night for me. and meanwhile fox news saying this was the death blow to the power of labor unions because of the recall and lawrence o'donnell came on and said president obama is the big winner, even though most people would say it wasn't a good night for the democrats. >> here's the scary part. the scary part was last year was a great news year. you had the arab spring, the killing of osama bin laden, all these very big stories. and what happened to the ratings for the cable networks? up 1%. just 1%. >> but not necessarily at that particular time when those big stories were breaking and people do tend to -- >> right, but if you are running a network, you need not just big spikes for one day or another, you need general rising ratings over a long haul. and you're not getting that, even with the news.
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>> but it's important when you talk about the ratings not to lose sight of the whole point of journalism is to actually inform people and teach them different things. so when you think about what msnbc or fox are offering with saying they're on one side of the issue or another, how about really taking a look at what it actually means. that's what people continually say that they are looking for. i asked this question on twitter before we came on. why don't you watch cable news? everyone says i'm looking to learn something, not necessarily hear my own views reinforced. >> and cable news audiences have never been huge. we're generally talking about a combined three million or so. but i think the coverage is important, even though it has the flaws that you have all described, because it drives a lot of media chatter elsewhere and eventually becomes fodder for the op-ed pages for newspapers and online. >> but i do think now if you hear of a big story, you understand that something is breaking, whereas before you might have gone to a television set and turned on cnn or whomever, whichever, now you go to your tablet or your phone.
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>> well, christina is always on twitter. i think that's where she goes. >> exactly. >> before i take a break here, in the "washington post" this morning, the first point by-line looking back at nixon and watergate nearly 40 years ago. the anniversary of that breaking here coming up. when we come back, the press piles on after president obama's rather clumsy comment about the economy. this country was built by working people. the economy needs manufacturing. machines, tools, people making stuff. companies have to invest in making things. infrastructure, construction, production. we need it now more than ever. chevron's putting more than $8 billion dollars back in the u.s. economy this year. in pipes, cement, steel, jobs, energy. we need to get the wheels turning.
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president obama had a news conference at the white house on friday to address concerns about the economy, but he ended up making news in a way he didn't intend. let's take a look at the one sentence the president uttered that has gotten a lot of scrutiny, shall we say, from the media, and then we'll give you the fuller context of what obama said. >> the private sector is doing fine. the private sector is doing fine. the private sector is doing fine. the truth of the matter is that as i said, we've created 4.3 million jobs over the last two -- 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. the private sector is doing fine. where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy had to do with state and local government. >> christina, politically it was a dumb thing to say. he walked it back a few hours later. of course mitt romney would attack it. but there wasn't a journalist who didn't know what obama meant, he was comparing the private sector's performance as compared to public sector and layoffs in state government.
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>> and this is cue up the umbrage meter. when campaigns respond, the republicans pounced on this by using twitter and other social media to be able to get many, many people to join in. and then i think that a lot of news networks and news organizations feel compelled, oh, well something is blowing up on twitter, we need to cover this in a way and really overdo it. >> we can prove that. let's roll a little montage of sound bites from the networks. >> start this evening with what you might call president obama stepping in it today. >> this is not fine by any measure. it is shocking and it's unacceptable. >> you can't tell us that the economy is okay. we all know the truth, you might as welcome clean on it. >> of course, terry, we should cover politicians making gaffes, but is there a gaffe obsession, do use your earlier word, that turns viewers off? >> oh, i think it is. i think it's a reflection of what we were talking about earlier. in other words, it's a slow news season, it's a slow news period.
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obama makes a statement that is romneyesque in its clumsiness and yet, you know, everybody jumps on it, takes it literally. he knows it's not fine. >> and romney responds by saying we need more firemen, policemen, more teachers, did he not get the message in wisconsin. >> attach it to all the larger issues in the campaign themes, that's the idea. both sides will play this game. i think most people will forget about this and the republicans' challenge is to make them not forget about this. they'll run the ads. >> what's the media's challenge? >> the media is going to move on and wait for the next conflict. >> how about put knit context too? >> that was actually done in many of the story that say i saw that it was placed in dcontext. >> and the sheer reputation of a sound bite, that's why i played it three times, tends to undermine context. thanks very much for joining us. after the break a question of bias. are journalists far more
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mitt romney has faced plenty of stories this year about his flaws and his foibles, his wealth and his past.
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for instance that report of cutting the hair of a gay student back in prep school. that prompted conservative commentators to declare a double standard. >> this was also on page one today of "the new york times," not just the "washington post." if the media is interested in what mitt romney did when he was 17 years old in high school, how come it wasn't interested in what barack obama did when he was at columbia university and what kind of papers he wrote? were they anti-american? >> the president in his own words admitting that he rarely went to school, that he drank a lot and used drugs enthusiastically, that he even did cocaine and he said drugs, plural. where are the media questions about this? >> liberal pundits for their part are always on the lookout for new fodder about this long ago tale. >> when mitt romney wasn't gay bashing kids whose hair he didn't like, mitt romney's other favorite sick thing to do was to
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impersonate a police officer. >> politico has waded into the debate saying republican complaints of bias often ring true. joining us to examine this question in providence, rhode island, david shuster, host of we act radio's tax action now. and here in washington, jennifer rubin, cnbc contributor and author of the right turn blog for the "washington post." i'm sure you saw this in the home section about neighbors being upset about mitt romney's mega house in la jolla, california. the argument isn't whether the media are fixated on romney's wealth, his houses and what he did in high school. your take. >> yeah, i think so. i have a whole series and award a prize on thursdays for the shiny object story of the week. the nonsensical, the irrelevant, the highly partisan story that really has no information for the average voter in which to make up their minds. it's not a question of this being different than the reporting that was done for barack obama when he was a new
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candidate in 2008 is that we're not covering the current race. we're not covering barack obama's performance. we're not going back to see whether his economic policies actually worked. there's a dearth of actual analysis of what's going on at the white house and instead they substitute this. >> i don't necessarily agree but i want to bring in david shuster. politico says the political bias in this race often rings true. do you disagree with that? >> it's interesting politico would say that without any sources. then they never mention the pew nonpartisan study which found president obama has never received more favorable coverage than mitt romney, only because politico says so because they say somehow the "washington post" and "new york times" are biased does that somehow make it true to the right. the "washington post" and "new york times" have done plenty of stories about whether president obama's policies worked. they are vetting mitt romney now. this argument about bias is just
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the usual bs from republicans who are trying to political purposes to gin up their base. i give them credit, it's smart politics, but it's bunk. >> one example cited in that political piece, a new biography is about obama growing up, a terrific book. he reveals basically how much dope obama consumed in college. the "washington post" ran that inside the paper whereas the front page of the story about the incident with prep school and cutting the kid's hair. that is a strong example? who cares what pages something runs on in the digital age? >> first of all, it also runs on the home page on the digital age and there are a lot of people who read the deadwood paper that's on their driveway, but david is wrong. i have written multiple posts within the "washington post" they give me a lot of running room on all the stories they are not covering, of all of the analysis they are not doing in terms of the last four years. >> jennifer, you also wrote a commentary saying that barack obama is poison for the democratic party.
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you're not exactly a neutral observer. you're entitled to write whatever you want. but to suggest you're the arbiter of media bias is a little strange. >> whether i'm biased or not, whether i have a perspective or not, the poecht is not covering those ten stories. i didn't lie. no one at the post comes up and says hey, here's four stories we're covering on that. >> you believe there's an equivalency between mitt romney as a teenager forcibly cutting the hair of a gay kid who was crying and wailing and he can't remember that. you say there's an equivalency between that and barack obama's pot smoking. you say there's a equivalency how they should treat those stories. >> they are both relevant and should get on with the true issue. the media is throwing out one shiny object, one irrelevant story after another. in fact they're not really covering the substantive issues on which most americans are going to vote on.
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>> a quick point, which is one of the reasons that the stories about obama's drug consumption and so forth as a college student and as a young man haven't had the impact is that he told that himself in his autobiography, which diffused some of that during the '07-08 campaign cycle. bias is not always on one side. for example, i still still shaking my head over this four-minute video fox and friends ran the other week, 10 days, 14 days ago that was presented as a great piece of reporting by fox news, although fox said in a statement that this hadn't been approved by senior management, nobody has been fired and no disciplinary action. let's take a brief look at that video. >> hope has been the guiding force behind the most improbable changes this country has ever known. i cannot wait for good jobs or
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living wages and pensions. >> david shuster, not quite fair and balanced in your view? >> no. this was a campaign commercial for a network that is run by roger rails, an expert at campaign commercials. fox should have been ashamed and embarrassed. what i found astounding is not that fox would put this out but their management would claim we didn't know anything about it. you cannot have a four-minute piece as highly ed it and polished as that ridiculous piece is without management knowing it. i'm convinced this was a deliberate effort by fox to put this out there. then they walk away and say we shouldn't have done it. come on, they knew what they were doing. >> there's no evidence that roger had anything to do with it, but obviously somebody who ran that morning program, which is an opinion program, they don't like obama and that's fine, it just seemed like a parody of a campaign commercial. i want to come back because one of the things that i hear echoing is mitt romney is a rich guy but what about john kerry. i think john kerry faced some of
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this. not as much in 2004 because it's his wife's money that he inherited. but all the things about romney being rich and also whether it's his houses, a couple of cadillacs, his wife has a horse that i guess is going to be in the olympics or training for the olympics. isn't that fair to report when you're running for president? >> sure. but all of this is a matter of proportion. all of this is a matter of putting things in context. he's also given more in charity than we'll ever make in our lifetimes in income. so a balanced coverage would also point out that although he's not worth eight figures, the president is worth seven figures. these are not one rich guy and one poor guy. there's one extraordinarily rich and one just super rich. so i think there's a limit to what you want to do and that repetition and the plethora of these stories is really excessive. >> i would argue, david shuster -- go ahead. >> jennifer, is it balanced when the "new york times" four weeks before the election does a story about i don't care's wealth an his houses? let's be consistent here. if you think it was unbalanced for the media to talk about this
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mansion that mitt romney is building in san diego and the impact it has on its neighbors, shouldn't you also publicly say now that it was unbalanced for the "new york times" to talk about john kerry's wealth four weeks before the election. >> "the new york times" was running such a full-time ad for john kerry, don't beat up the coverage in 2004. >> come on. >> you can debate that off the air. i think the reason romney is getting so much scrutiny right now is because the press belatedly has come around to the view that he may win this election. i think a month ago the conventional wisdom was the president will skate in and now with the polls being tight, with romney outraising him in the latest period and the economy having that bad jobs report, there is a sense that this is going to be a very close election and we could possibly be looking at a romney administration and that's the reason that the scrutiny i think has jumped aup a notch thanks fr stopping by. up next, is the obama administration leaking classified information to make the president look good?
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"the new york times" has landed two major national security scoops in recent weeks and now the justice department and the senate are investigating. one story by david sanger
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reported that president obama has intensified cyber warfare against iran's nuclear program. the other that obama is personally approving strikes against suspected terrorists on what was dubbed the kill list. the story sparked questions about the source of these leaks. >> bipartisan outrage in congress right now over classified information leaks. is the white house responsible? >> president obama dismissed that notion on friday. >> the notion that my white house would purposely release classified national security information is offensive. it's wrong. >> but is it that clear cut? joining us now is david sanger, the "times" chief washington correspondent and author of the new book "confront and conceal, obama's secret wars and surprising use of american power." i'm not suggesting that you get spoon fed these stories. these are hard stories to piece
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together, particularly on national security. but your story about the computer warfare against iran seems like information the administration wanted out. >> you know, i have my doubts about that. and i have my doubts about that for several reasons. first of all, this was 18 months of reporting, long before the political season started. >> right. >> secondly, when you're running a cyber warfare campaign, you're doing it at a covert program, i think there are probably a lot of people who didn't necessarily want that out. i'm sure there are some people on the political side who, you know, always like to read stories about the president in the situation room handling presidential problems. there are also people who are less enthusiastic about that. but the central point, howie, is you open up the beginning of this book and you begin to read about olympic games, this classified program. the first four pages of the book are all about what they did when the program went awry on
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president obama's watch. the virus, the worm that was supposed to stay secret gets out of the nuclear enrichment plant and gets onto an iranian engineer's computer, replicates itself around the world and suddenly the entire world in 2010 knows that there's a computer virus aimed at iran. >> it's a very dramatic story. but in your book you say scores of officials and former officials helped you and you say that you actually credit two of the obama administration spokesmen on national security for helping set up interviews at all levels of white house staff. >> right. >> all i'm saying is some of these stories you can't do without some cooperation from the white house administration. >> this is a book about the totality of the national security strategy of president obama. what's worked and what hasn't. it covers afghanistan and pakistan, it covers iran, of course, it covers china, it covers how they reacted to the arab spring. did i talk to a lot of people in the administration? of course. how do you report a book about that without talking to people
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who were involved in the room. but, you know, since you read a section that refers to the entirety of the book. >> okay. and in "the new york times" kill list story, the story about the targeted strikes, tom donlin was quoted in the book. >> you'll see hillary clinton quoted on the record, the treasury secretary, many people, many layers down. >> i just wanted to clarify that. but among the critics of these leaks have been a couple of prom negligent democrats, including senator dianne feinstein who had this exchange with wolf blitzer. >> are you saying you're not ruling out the possibility that journalists like david sanger of "the new york times" who was here in the situation room yesterday, that they should be prosecuted as a result of this classified information being released? >> well, don't put words in my mouth. >> i want to just clarify that. >> well, i didn't say that. >> a little sobering to see this debate on television whether you should be prosecuted for publishing the story.
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>> yeah, a little bit. but look, there's a reason that we publish stories like this. "the new york times" is here as many newspapers are to publish stories about issues of public interest. you just had a panel on here who was saying all we've been doing is doing shiny objects and horse race and so forth and so on. some of that has got to get covered. we've got a big election and that's all interesting and important stuff. so is how barack obama has pursued the most important issues of national security, whether it's how he's doing drone strikes and what rules he sets up about it or the first use of -- sustained use of cyber weapons, a new weapon of war. can you debate those out in the open? of course we can, because after the atomic bomb was dropped, we spent the entire cold war debating the rules under which the united states should use nuclear weapons. it took us 20 years to come to the conclusion we probably shouldn't use them except in the most extreme case. we're still debating drones.
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>> these are very important issues. a lot of people say why does the "times" need to run this stuff. it helps our enemies and that sort of thing. "times" editors went to the administration and said we are going to go with the story, do you have any objection. was there any point where anybody from the white house or the administration said do not publish this? >> no one from the white house, no one from the administration ever said do not publish this. we have said that they had asked for some technical details to be left out and we complied with that. but the most important thing i think to remember here is there are no more vital questions than how the president of the united states uses american power, and the very fact that we were using cyber war against iran is something we've written about back in early 2011 and the iranians knew when that virus got out. >> right. also this week a "wall street
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journal" caolumnist took a leav. they are looking into -- it appeared he was perhaps telling her confidential details at the time about a troop agreement with iraq that he was negotiating which seems to be way out of bounds for a reporter. but let me come back with this final question. i saw this in the bush administration. don't all administrations get on the high horse as this is terrible but are willing in some selected instances to help reporters with stories that perhaps cast that administration in a positive light? >> or to explain a story that doesn't cast them in a positive light. i spent a lot of time with the bush administration after they failed to find weapons of mass destruction in iraq talking to them about how that happened. there's another element that's important, which is reporters need to have a channel to go when they are getting ready to write a story which got built from the bottom up, and this took 18 months, and be able to say, okay, if there's something operational, if there's
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something that's going to put somebody's life in danger, we need to talk about it. and they need to be able to find a way to do that. >> david sanger, thanks for helping to illuminate how this works. it's a controversial story with these leak investigations that is going to continue. after the break, he was the most trusted journalist in america, but a new biography of walter cronkite reveals a darker side to his career. author doug brinkley in a moment. uncover stronger, younger looking skin. [ female announcer ] new aveeno skin strengthening body cream helps transform dry, thinning skin, by strengthening its moisture barrier, for improved texture and elasticity in 2 weeks. reveal healthy, supple skin.
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walter cronkite was one of the great journalists of the 20th century. of that there can be no doubt. he led the country through many historic moments. >> the lunar module cutting itself free from the demand module, beginning the maneuvers which should place it on the surface of the moon. >> man on the moon. boy. >> it seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of vietnam is to end in a stalemate. >> but a new biography called "simply cronkite" paints a somewhat darker picture. i spoke with author douglas brinkley here in the studio. doug brinkley, welcome. >> thank you for having me. >> you found in this book among other things that walter cronkite did something grossly unethical in an interview with lbj shortly before johnson's
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death. explain what happened. >> this comes from tom johnson and others dealing with the lbj library. >> johnson a former aide to lbj as well as the future president of cnn. >> absolutely. cronkite got a big johnson interview because of his memoir was going to be done with cbs connection so cronkite went to the ranch at lbj's and did a long interview of him. >> and then? >> they cut cronkite to do different frown and facial expressions, and so by the time -- >> they would take a pre-existing answer that the former president of the united states gave and cronkite would react to it not in realtime but in something shot later. >> you got it. >> and lyndon johnson went crazy on cbs and they ended up rectifying it but that was a fairly common practice back in tv in that era but to do that with the former president that late in the game was beyond the pail. >> cronkite also had a secret meeting with bobby kennedy in 1968 as johnson's candidates see
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was faltering. i found that stunning. what happened? >> remember, walter cronkite was with the u.p. during world war ii. journalism had a propaganda aspect to it. cronkite was pro nasa, pro federal government, was pro vietnam war from '65 to '68. >> until. >> he goes and reports from vietnam, comes back and does a february 27th, 1968, the primetime special saying that vietnam was a stalemate. big ripple effect. >> big ripple effect. that changed the debate, it shook lyndon johnson. why did he have -- we'll come back to the other point in a mi minute. why did he have so much authority, one reporter, one anchor. >> he had that much because he became beloved. he brought the nation through -- we were used to him in the 1950s. he was one of the inquisitors of the nixon/kennedy debate but mainly the kennedy assassination when he guided america almost as pastor in chief through that long weekend and just started
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building an audience, mr. steady eddie. also some areas also got cbs news. >> cbs and nbc had huge audiences, there wasaudiences, was no cable television you all that. so come back to the senate office, bobby kennedy and walter cronkite tells him what? >> cronkite recognized that morley safer was right and '65, morally told him that the vietnam war was a bust. cronkite not only did that report but he went to see bobby kennedy, sat with the kennedy press secretary and said you have got to run for the presidency, you have got to challenge lyndon johnson. cronkite turned anti-war and he felt a moral obligation to try to end johnson policies. for people in your world that is an unconscionable -- >> a line that should never be crossed. then he compounds it by interviewing senator ken don't air three days before he wound up throwing his hat into the '68 presidential race. we all remember -- i knew cronkite, i liked him, i respected him, avenues warm guy, but in his hey day, he was seen
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as mr. objectivity. you report that in his radio comment tears, which didn't get widely picked up, he was quite a liberal and said some pretty harsh things about the nixon administration. >> woe do a regular commentary, most people don't go back and look at cbs radio reports. cronkite didn't write all of them there were scriptwriters for some. nevertheless, lyndon johnson knew about cronkite's radio reports, said i can't believe he is getting away with that, he didn't mind. but the nixon people found out and chuck coleson went aft her are cronkite, to no avail. everybody made a decision they liked walter cronkite, didn't want to hear anything negative about him. thought of like the king daddy of the fourth estate, a patriarchal figure to young reporters, he had immunity. >> i can't imagine even if he was as popular today as he was in the '60s and '70s, the world of 24/7 cable, bloggers, twitter, i would imagine his
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image, some of these things, a freebie deal from pan am airlines, his image far more tarnished than it was at that time. >> he was a pioneer of tv, rules were being made in a hurley burly fashion. don hewitt was creating the industry of broadcast news in many ways. the cronkite -- what some people call the golden able of tv, but cronkite's authority couldn't happen today since we had telestar, we have thousand cable channels, the internet. writing about an historic figure of an important moment in american journalism. >> doug brinkley, thanks very much. >> thank you, howard. still to come, barbara walters makes an international blunder, msnbc' chris hayes apologizes to american soldiers and cnbc reporter falls into a guilter trap. media monitor, straight ahead. people with a machine.
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time now for the media monitor, our weekly look at the hits and errors in the news business. barbara walters has a long track record of making news with world leaders but this week, she was the one making headline with us a serious international stumble. you may recall that the abc veteran landed an exclusive sitdown last december with syrian strong man, bashir al
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asad. the woman who helped arrange that interview is the daughter of the syrian ambassador to the u.n. starting the day after it aired, walters tried to help her get admitted to columbia university or lan an internship with cnn's piers morgan. in an eye mail, waltersss -- inn e-mail, walters wrote -- while she declined to get her a job at abc, i did mention her to contacts at another media organization and academia, although she didn't get into
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school or a job, i realize in retrospect this created a conflict and i regret that the problem with helping the woman who assisted walters in getting the interview with the leader of a brutal and bloody regime is that it had the air of a quid pro quo. what chris hayes did on memorial day weekend wasn't just a gaffe or a poor choice of words f you missed it, here is what the msnbc host had to say about fallen american soldiers being described as heroes. >> i feel uncomfortable about the word hero because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. >> this was an outrage. these are people who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country, carryinging out of the flawed decisions by political leaders. last weekend, he apologized. >> i can understand entirely while someone reading those head lines with think, at a minimum what a jerk. basically said, my brother died in iraq. who the hell are you to say he
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wasn't a hero? and uncomfortable? really, mr. tv pundit? it causes you discomfort that someone might call my brother a hero? well, too bad. and reading those messages, i had to agree, who was i who is and isn't a hero? >> let's give him this, that was a real heart felt apology. cnbc's darren rolf was hunting for a story on twitter and a guy named tim started the tantalizing news he runs an escort service for nba players. after changes, lovele posted a story on cnbc's website about the call girls costing as much as $4,000 but as reported by the sports side dead spin, tim turned out to be a bored 18-year-old high school student playing a prank. lovele has now apologized saying he duped me, shame on me. i apologize to my readers. there will always be people thought who want their 15 minutes of fame and not really care how they get there. i have got to blow the whistle on that explanation. rolf went with the story based
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on some unknown guy who e-mailed him without so much as a meeting? that was an embarrassing air ball. that is it for this edition of reliable stories. join us again next sunday morning, 11 a.m. eastern, for another critical look at the media. "state of the uniontion withtion with request with candy crowley begins right now. wisconsin and money and jobs, oh, my. today a rocky week at the white house with obama's senior campaign adviser david axelrod. also -- >> regardless of how politically useful these leaks may have been to the president, they have to stop. >> the notion that my white house would purposely release classified national security information is offensive. >> president obama and his 2008 rival are at it again. senator john mccain is here for an exclusive interview. plus, it is lethal and


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